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ARIZONA STATE TO HONOR TILLMAN BY RETIRING HIS NUMBER SATURDAY

Pat Tillman used to climb the light towers over Sun Devil Stadium to meditate. He was a fierce Arizona State football player and an honor student who graduated in 3 1/2 years.

The school will honor the fallen hero, killed in combat in Afghanistan in April, and retire his No. 42 in a halftime ceremony of Saturday night's game against Washington State.

Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is scheduled to be among the former teammates who gather on the field for the ceremony, the second one at the stadium this season.

The Arizona Cardinals retired Tillman's number at their home opener Sept. 19.

Tillman was the Pacific-10 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 1997, when he and Plummer led the Sun Devils to an 11-0 regular season and the Rose Bowl. Tillman, an academic All-American, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's in business.

Undersized for a linebacker, he switched to safety and became a hard-hitting, overachieving member of the NFL's Cardinals.

Tillman gave up millions of dollars in the NFL to join the Army Rangers following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He was killed, apparently by friendly fire, while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Washington State's football team will join in the tribute.

"He's a hero," Washington State coach Bill Doba said. "We're going to honor the man, wear a 'PT' on our helmets to honor what kind of man he is."

Members of Tillman's family will be on the field for the ceremony. The family has formed the Pat Tillman Foundation to promote leadership and public service. The university, Cardinals and the family also have established the Pat Tillman Memorial Scholarship.

The 20th-ranked Arizona State team, 7-2 overall and looking to finish undefeated at home, probably won't watch the halftime ceremony because of the task at hand.

"Pat wouldn't have wanted it any other way than for us to win the game first," ASU coach Dick Koetter said.

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